Chef George Sittig has a tattoo of the Acadian flag on his right forearm. He’s a Lafayette native who speaks Cajun French, and his 8-year-old daughter was born on Mardi Gras day. So it should come as no surprise that his menu at Red Stick Social embodies south Louisiana.
On his menu, you’ll find modern takes on traditional south Louisiana dishes, like crawfish and tasso mac ’n’ cheese and a fried seafood-stuffed po-boy covered in étouffée. You’ll also find Asian flavors, like in his ribs, which are tossed in an Asian char siu sauce, and his Korean Barbecue Tacos.
Sittig’s journey as a chef has taken him around the globe, cooking in restaurants across Europe and the Caribbean. But he says his “hardcore” love for Louisiana and its food called him home about three years ago.
“I think everywhere that I went, I found similarities in food and similarities in culture to what we have here in Louisiana,” Sittig says. “I’d always find things that just really reminded me of home.”
And Red Stick Social, set to open April 15, combines all the essential elements of the culture that Sittig missed.
With five floors, the building is a place to eat, drink, work, play and listen to music, and Sittig says it brings something totally unique to the Baton Rouge food and entertainment scene.
Red Stick Social is the anchor tenant of Electric Depot, a mixed-use development at the historic former Entergy site on Government Street. The area will soon also be home to apartments, office and retail space, and more restaurants.
Inside Red Stick Social, a restaurant and dining area occupy the first and second floors. At night, part of the first floor turns into a stage for live bands to perform. A sizable bar lines the wall on the second floor, and a retractable garage door opens to an outdoor seating area.
Ride the elevator up to the third floor for bowling lanes and another bar area. The fourth level serves as meeting, work and venue space. The fifth floor is reserved for VIPs with access to private bowling lanes, a bar and an outdoor terrace.
When talking about Red Stick Social’s food, Sittig recounts a recent quest for a Puerto Rican dish as the kind of cravings he wants to inspire. Shortly after moving back to the United States from the Caribbean, he developed an intense desire for a warm bowl of asopao de mariscos, a Caribbean dish resembling a variation of gumbo. One morning, Sittig woke up and decided to book a plane ticket the next day. He flew from New Orleans to Puerto Rico just for a bowl of asopao. Once satisfied, he jumped back on a plane.
“If I prepare something, I want someone to have that experience where they’re willing to say, ‘I can’t take it anymore—I really have to have this dish.’ And they fly or travel or jump in the car, whatever the case may be, to go and get it because they want it so bad. … I don’t know of anything other than food that can really do that.”
Sittig infuses this adventurous energy into his menu at Red Stick Social. He combines those Cajun and Asian flavors on his C’Asian flatbread. He tops a burger with crawfish and queso, and he creates an array of street tacos to make any mouth water.
“I just want to see smiles on people’s faces. I want them to remember an experience they had here,” he says.
Red Stick Social is at 1503 Government St. Check its Facebook page for the latest info on opening hours.